Barry Sanders is considered one of the best running backs in NFL history. He made the Pro Bowl in every one of his ten seasons. He was the MVP in 1997, was a 2x NFL Offensive Player of the Year, a 6x First-team All-Pro, and 4x Second-team All-Pro while putting up over 15k yards rushing, 99 rushing touchdowns, and ten receiving touchdowns over his career. Sanders was an electric college layer as well, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1988. Those numbers are impressive in their own right, but remember that he put up those numbers while playing behind a mediocre offensive line on the Detroit Lions.
Naturally, Sanders has a few, now famous, cards that collectors covet, like his 1989 Score rookie card and its heavy green design, and his 1989 Pro Set card with its orange color and Sanders in his Oklahoma State uniform. But since the Barry Sanders Master Set Registry requires 2107 cards, some are naturally going to be harder to track down, so here are five tough-to-find Barry Sanders football cards.
1990 British Petroleum Barry Sanders
BP gas stations throughout California were issued this 36-card set. And PSA has only graded 11 1990 BP Barry Sanders cards (7 Ad on Back, 4 Rules on Back variants).
1990 Kenner Starting Lineup Cards Barry Sanders
I believe these cards came with 1990 Kenner Starting Lineup statues. The statues included two cards, one with a posed photo and one in action photo. PSA has graded 22 blue and 20 yellow variants.
1990 Fact Pro Set Cincinnati Barry Sanders (1 or 102)
FACT stands for Football and Academics: A Cincinnati Team. These cards were given to fourth-grade students in 29 Cincinnati-area schools via 25-card cello packs and are identical to the regular cards, but the backs have educational elements instead of player info or statistics. Card 1 has a PSA population of 7, and card 102 has a population of 12.
1991 King B Discs Barry Sanders
24 different King B Discs were printed and included with King B Beef Jerky. PSA has graded 21 Barry Sanders Discs.
1996 Upper Deck Game Jersey Barry Sanders
Becket says that these were “Randomly inserted in packs at a rate of one in 2500, this 10-card standard-sized insert set features an actual piece of a game-used jersey from the particular player featured on the card. The front of the card features a color picture of the player, the player’s name, team, and the piece of jersey, with the insert name “Game Jersey” surrounding it.”
PSA has graded 13 of them.
Given the volume of Sanders’ cards that exist, I can’t say these five are the MOST obscure, and they certainly aren’t the most expensive, but they definitely aren’t easy to find encapsulated by a third-party grader.
Sanders retired at the top of his game after only ten seasons, but his incredible productivity and electric style mean that he will remain a hobby icon.
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